This tag is for questions regarding formal, versus informal words and usage.

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12
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there an informal way to describe a woman that can not have a baby?

"Infertile"; "fruitless"? How would you describe such a woman in an informal talk to your friend?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

“Pretty” as an adverb

How correct/common/proper is "pretty" as an adverb? It is hard for me to see, since it's my native dialect, but I say "pretty often" pretty often, and "fairly often" fairly rarely. Does "pretty" mark ...
5
votes
7answers
3k views

More formal synonyms of “snob”

To me, the word snob seems rather informal, although it appears in dictionaries, and I am unable to find anywhere on the internet a more formal word than snob. Are there any sophisticated synonyms ...
5
votes
2answers
9k views

I'd rather not [do something] vs I'd prefer not to [do something]

In this question the issue came up as to whether there's any difference in the level of politeness/correctness involved in I'd rather not say as opposed to I'd prefer not to say. My own gut feeling ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

'Therefore' in an illogical logic sense

I have a co-worker that is always saying "Therefore, A B C" when the "A B C" isn't a conclusion from any sort of deductive reasoning. For example, Me: ... thus, that's how it works. Her: I ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is ‘Yes-ish’ a perfect alternative to Yes, or is it 'Yes ‘on condition’? Is it received English?

I found a word ‘Yes-ish’ in the answer (from PLL) to my question about the meaning of ‘Stuck to the script’ I posted today. As it is quite new to my ear, I consulted with Wikipedia before logging out ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “I'm dead serious” formal?

In a movie I heard an actor saying "I'm dead serious". I looked up the dictionary and found that "dead" in this context means "really". Is it formal? Can we use it in business meetings?
3
votes
6answers
7k views

“Important” and “significant”

"Important" and "significant" seems to be very close in meaning when denoting that something matters much. But am I right in thinking that "important" is less formal word than "significant"? And ...
2
votes
3answers
796 views

Is there a non-colloquial equivalent term for “cool”?

As I get older (into my 30s) the less I feel like using youthful slang, and I take extra pride in using professional English. But I can't think of a word that is universally equivalent to the ...
2
votes
2answers
467 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Swearing: “bollixed”

The House Ethics Committee has now hired an outside counsel to investigate its own bollixed investigation into the conduct of Representative Maxine Waters. (“The House’s Farcical ...
2
votes
4answers
7k views

Is it suitable to use 'etc.' in an academic paper?

I'm writing one of my first academic papers and I'm not sure whether etc. is too informal. Should I use et cetera instead?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is an ampersand formal?

I've noticed that there are many companies whose names contain an ampersand. A quick Google search for "& Sons, Inc", or something similar, should yield countless examples. Though it's not ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

When did the valediction 'best regards' come into use?

Best regards seems to be quite a popular valediction used in business emails, along with variants kind regards, or just regards. The spoken expression "give him my regards" would appear to be a ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

“who” or “whom” as a relative pronoun - not always so easy [duplicate]

I take it for granted we all know when to use the relative pronouns "who" and "whom". And we also know that since the early nineteenth century there has been a steady decline in the use of "whom" ...
1
vote
1answer
361 views

Is 'acronymise/ze' a word? Is it used only colloquially, if at all?

I just sent a text to a friend, who didn't understand an acronym I used for a game: "Ah, I said it in a previous text so thought it was ok to abbreviate it." Though, since it was an acronym I ...
1
vote
1answer
264 views

Which valediction should I use with my boss?

I work as a freelancer for a company and I do most of my communication via e-mails. My boss usually ends his mails with "cheers" whereas I always use "regards". Are there any alternatives to ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

“the below-identified person”: Term for this style and any style guides regarding

Are there any technical terms to specifically describe the two styles (A and B) below? Also, are there any prescriptive style guides that say which is preferable? My own preference is for style B ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

App or app? When I refer to it in a formal paper

In Android contexts, should the 'a' in 'app' be uppercase always or lowercase?
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Which form of address in motivation letter? [duplicate]

I am writing a motivation letter for a university in London, and I wanted to know which form of address is common? Dear Sir or Madam To whom it may concern Thanks in advance.
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Is this a complete sentence?

There was an ad on telly I saw, saying Relax, knowing your home is safe Is this a complete sentence that is grammatically correct? Could this go in an essay? What is the technical word for ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

“You're not” vs. “you ain't” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “ain't” mean? What's the difference between "you're not" and "you ain't" ("...coming home")? I do realize that ain't is a contraction of are ...
-1
votes
1answer
982 views

What complimentary close to use in continuous formal email?

I am a student in contact with a business owner, and I am having a hard time deciding on a complimentary close. Should I use it for every email I send him? I don't want to make it redundant since it ...